The Way – Fastball

Fastball is an American rock band that formed in Austin, Texas in the 1990s. The band originally called themselves “Magneto U.S.A.” but changed their name after signing with Hollywood Records.

In 1994, Tony Scalzo, Joey Shuffield, and Miles Zuniga, formed Fastball in Austin, Texas. Shuffield and Zuniga first played together in a band called Big Car. After a stint with another group called Wild Seeds, Shuffield introduced Zuniga to Scalzo, who had played in a band called the Goods in Orange County, California. The trio decided to form their own band, and began playing around the Austin area.

When they first started out, the band tried out several names, such as Star 69, Magneto, Magneto USA, and Starchy, before finally deciding to adopt the name Fastball. They share the name with the group’s favorite pornographic film. “It’s a typical porno movie,” Zuniga told Rob Brunner in Entertainment Weekly, “but it’s about baseball. It’s like a really raunchy Bull Durham.”

Fastball quickly built a strong following in the Austin area, and created a regional buzz. As a result, a local journalist spotted them, and suggested that Hollywood Records check them out. They did, and Fastball soon signed a record contract. Scalzo and Zuniga took turns singing and writing the songs, while Shuffield backed them up on drums. In 1996, Make Your Mama Proud arrived in stores. The album didn’t sell very well, but it did win the “Best Pop Band” category at the Austin Music Awards. The following year, the members of Fastball were unsure of their future.

The members of Fastball still had side jobs as late as January 1998. Tony Scalzo worked the graveyard shift at The Bagel Manufactory in Austin. Little did he know at the time that he, Shuffield, and Zuniga would be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O’Brien just four months later. Fastball’s second album, All The Pain Money Can Buy, was released on Hollywood Records. Within just six months, it had sold more than a million copies.

The Way

“The Way” revolves around an older married couple who decide to give it all away by packing up and going driving. Along the way, their car breaks down, so they continue on foot. As the song goes on, it becomes apparent that these two achieve happiness by losing touch with the world.

Fastball bassist Tony Scalzo came up with the idea for the song after reading journalistic articles which described the disappearance of an older married couple, Lela and Raymond Howard from Salado, Texas, who left home in June 1997 to attend the Pioneer Day festival at nearby Temple, Texas, but never arrived. They were discovered two weeks later, dead, at the bottom of a ravine near Hot Springs, Arkansas, hundreds of miles off their intended route.

About the song, Scalzo said that “It’s a romanticized take on what happened” – he “pictured them taking off to have fun, like they did when they first met.”

The beginning of the song features a radio scanning through FM stations; among the songs played are Jewel’s “Foolish Games”, Roy Orbison’s “You Got It”, and Madonna’s “Vogue.”

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They made up their minds
And they started packing
They left before the sun came up that day
An exit to eternal summer slacking
But where were they going Without ever knowing the way?
They drank up the wine
And they got to talking
They now had more important things to say
And when the car broke down They started walking
Where were they going without ever knowing the way?

CHORUS:

Anyone could see The road that they walk on is paved in gold
And It’s always summer, they’ll never get cold
They’ll Never get hungry
They’ll never get old and gray
You can see their shadows Wandering off somewhere
They won’t make it home
But they really don’t care
They wanted the highway
They’re happier there today , today

The children woke up
And they couldn’t find ‘em
They Left before the sun came up that day
They just drove off
And left it all behind ‘em
But Where were they going Without ever knowing the way?

Anyone could see The road that they walk on is paved in gold
And It’s always summer, they’ll never get cold
They’ll Never get hungry
They’ll never get old and gray
You can see their shadows Wandering off somewhere
They Won’t make it home
But they really don’t care
They wanted the highway
They’re happy there today , today (repeat)

  • Audio from the 1998 album, All the Pain Money Can Buy:

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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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